Pirate FM’s Neil Caddy finds out what it’s like to be a partially sighted runner

March 13, 2020 12:48 pm

Pirate FM’s Neil Caddy used to run for Great Britain. He teamed up with iSightCornwall to explore what it’s like to run when you’re partially sighted.

iSightCornwall's marathon running team Claire and Rachel running on a track

The running team: My Guide and Me

Claire and Rachel, together known as My Guide and Me, have been busy training and fundraising for the London Marathon, which takes place on April 26. (Click here to read about some of their fundraising in a new tab)

Claire has Usher Syndrome, which means she is hearing impaired and is slowly going blind. At 37 years old she has little vision left other than some central vision.

Before deciding to take on this mammoth challenge, neither Claire nor Rachel were runners and Claire was not confident in exercising outdoors due to her limited sight. As best friends they decided to team up and Rachel learned how to guide Claire to help her avoid curbs, low branches and other obstacles.

It has not been an easy learning curve but after months of training (and a few branches to the face) they are confident and proficient.

Pirate FM’s Neil Caddy and Lucy Start’s challenge


Neil from Pirate FM with guide Rachel

Last week, Claire and Rachel put these skills to the test when they met with Neil Caddy and Lucy Start from Pirate FM’s Breakfast Show to help them experience what it is like as a partially sighted runner.

Neil, who used to run for Great Britain, wore Simulation Goggles which allowed him to see only what Claire can see and he was guided around a running track with obstacles by Rachel.


Neil had to listen and put his entire trust in Rachel in order to be able to run.

He said: “It was really frightening, it took my senses away and I tried to be alert as possible by listening but that’s not one of my strong points!

“It’s really tricky and you are really in your Guide’s hands, which is completely alien to me. I couldn’t prepare myself for it, I had such little vision.”


Claire’s chat with the Pirate FM team

Pirate FM filming with iSightCornwall

After the run, Claire had a chat with Neil and Lucy about her experiences.

Claire said: “Rachel keeps me going when I feel tired or injured. She’s great mental support as well as running support. We’ve had some incidents with low tree branches and stepping on frogs but she’s a very calming influence and we’re a great team.”

When asked if she’s excited, Claire said: “I’m currently alternating between being excited and terrified and wondering what on Earth we’re doing, I kind of just want to get there now and get it done.

“I want to make iSightCornwall proud, our families and friends proud and Rachel proud.”

Rachel added: “We’re best friends so to do it together is quite emotional really. We were not runners so this has been a whole journey together so to cross the finish line, without falling over – hopefully! – will be amazing.”

To read more about Claire and Rachel’s journey or to donate to their cause, click here to open a page in a new tab.

Check out the full video with Pirate FM and the iSightCornwall running team My Guide and Me below:

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